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Day 3-10. A messy week in Northern India!

Udaipur, India

Ok, apologies first for not updating the blogs, we've been in places where the internet is about as popular as a clean street in Delhi. Anyways, we left Delhi to head to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The place is amazing from the outside but the inside isn't anything special. We were there long enough to get photos then we set off on a cool 7 hour drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. It was pretty much another Delhi but hotter. Although the Palaces are amazing, once you've seen the Taj Mahal everything else is fairly average! So we spent the evening in a local restaurant which was an oasis, as our hotel was like a crack den from trainspotting. As quickly as we got there we left, heading for a Tiger Safari in Ranthambou, which was awesome, although we didn't see any tigers. We saw some pretty scary animals though, an owl, deer, a kingfisher, wild boar's, stalks, monkeys and other scary creatures.
So after getting over not seeing any tigers, we left for Pushkar. A place described as a peaceful holy town surrounded by mountains. We were originally set to stay here for one night, however when we saw our room and found out we had hot water (for the first time since we got here) we wanted to stay an extra night. Another perk of the hotel was an empty swimming pool, lush (i.e. no water in it)! The first night in Pushkar was spent chilling out accompanied by silence and the sight of stars (a rarity in India with all the smog!)
The following day, after a nice pancake, we set off into the town to find the 'holy lake' (the main attraction in Pushkar). Almost immediately we were given flowers by a strange man who said we must take these to the lake. As soon as we got there, we were separated because we're not married. So we were on our own from here, sat down at the edge of the lake, each of us with our own priest.
The priest began by praying for our families to have good health and good Karma, and even though I'm not were not that religious, one of us felt very spiritual, and the other felt uncomfortable from the start. After about 5 minutes, we both felt exactly the same. The feeling of happiness came to a swift end as the priest stated that unless we gave money per family member, they would not be welcomed by God. We were furious that both priests were using religion to make money out of us, and as we tried to get out of the situation, they became very hostile and pursuasive. Stupidly, we gave 40 dollars and 1000 rupees and said we would go to the bank and get more to cover the other people in my family. It wasn't until we left that we realised we'd been shat on from an enormous height. Both of us spent the rest of the morning upset and angry, and needless to say we didn't get any more money! We suddenly realised that 99% of the Indian population seem to be only after money, from the local kids to the priests. This is most likely due to how overcrowded the country is, and the absolute lack of jobs. But an element of greed seems to be ever-present, and unfortunately we've ended up clutching onto our money whenever I see an Indian walk our way, which is every 0.5 seconds!

We both wanted to get as far away as possible from everyone, so we got our walking boots on and headed for the mountains. After about 10 minutes of walking, we found a completely unspoiled spot, where a river had once ran from the mountain. We decided to sit here for a few hours and watch the sunset. After a short while, we had some very good company! A clan of monkeys were running around, completely content with our presence. This really calmed us down and slightly changed our perception of India. The landscape here is vast to say the least, and its sheer size and beauty is breathtaking.
When we arrived back to the hotel we were ready for a curry a beer, and bed, but we saw our driver who invited us to the Hindu temple he was staying at. Curiosity overcame our hunger and we set off into the mountain towards lights that darted up the mountain. Once we got out the car, we were nearly halfway there, with steps that looked like the path up Mount Everest, we took a deep breath and plodded on. At the top, our driver left us in the hands of an old spiritual man who guided us around the temple, explaining each of the Hindu gods. Unlike the priests by the Holy Lake, this man was honest, welcoming, and oblivious to the object of money and material objects. He asked us, "who are you?". He explained that, although you can see your body and your physical presence, you have to question your who you are mentally and spiritually. He also said that the only thing that matters in life is believing in yourself and that you are a good person, if you do this then money is irrelevant, and you will live a long and happy life with good Karma. He invited us to eat with him and the other Hindu's who lived in the Temple, and said if we wanted to donate to the temple, that's ok, if not, we could eat for free, as money means nothing. His refreshing perspective of equality and respect for everyone made us feel like we finally met a true Indian. And although the day couldn't have started any worse, it ended as the most enlightening and touching day so far.

So after our time in Pushkar, we headed on a 7 hour journey to Udaipur, where we are now. Similar to Pushkar in terms of scenery, Udaipur has a sincere friendly aura about it. Everyone says hello and smiles, which is what we hoped to experience in India. We realised that every place in the world has its good parts and its bad parts, and in the wise words of our very friendly driver Mr Singh "Not everyone Mr Singh!". He also said "if you look, you see, if you no look, you no see". And I think we looked at the bad in everyone because of what we had experienced so far, and if you look for the bad points, you'll find them. So from Udaipur onwards we've learnt our lesson, to look for the best in everyone but still be careful!!

We'll be in Udaipur for the next few days until the trouble in Bomb-Bay ends or we find another route!

Stay cool kids- don't do drugs...

Kav and Sara x x

I'm Inspired
permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 27, 2008 from Udaipur, India
from the travel blog: Round the world trip!!
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Drugs?....I'm taking tranquillisers after yesterday. The situation in Mumbai is far from contained. There are still a few nutters wandering around shooting people so my advice would be to give the place a wide berth.

Sorry if I sound like a "ranting rent" but whilst you are in the cauldron that is India at the moment, it pays to stick together.

Sorry you didn't get to see a tiger. I believe there anen't many left. In fact I think there's only one.(bouncey bouncey.

It would be useful to know which members of the family didn't get bought a blessing so we can buy our own.

You'll soon be looking forward to Thailand where they are trying to overthrow the governmant. I'm surprised you're not taking in The Congo and Afghanistan on your tour of the world's trouble spots.

You can't believe how good it is to know that you are both happy and well. I can now concentrate on what I was doing before. Now what was it?

If I wise man leads you up into the mountains at night, for God's sake make sure it's Gandalf.

Love Theebs xxx

permalink written by  Roger Shoesmith on November 28, 2008

thank god u both safe, had us all worried for a while.

With great Azadi tradition you have managed to visit one of the most peaceful countries in the world and land amongst a warzone.

There are many dvds that will capture the essence of bollywood. if u cant find one it goes something along the lines of - woman has two children - one is given up - he comes back then she cries/sings a song. now u know what its about- my message is a simple one - dont just stay safe - STAY AWAY!!!

Lecture aside - its great to hear from u both, glad your finding yourselves out there and we missing ya both loads.

Take care, stay safe.
ben n tasha x

p.s. also heaard bout few earthquakes Bourneo way so be carefull!!!

permalink written by  xbabytashx on November 28, 2008

Hello you two,
Its your old aunty Vic and uncle Fizz here.
Glad to see your both safe and having the time of your life.
The pic's are great so keep them coming. Especially liked the one of Kav at the end, sat in the sunset on the edge of the mountain (ha ha only joking)!

Keep having fun!!

Ye Olde ones xx

permalink written by  Victoria Watts on December 4, 2008

Come on guys - we need a new update, photos would be good as well. The main thing is you're both fine (thanks for the email baby). Have a great birthday, love you lots mama x

permalink written by  sue shoesmith on December 8, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY sara hope u enjoy yaself, and i bet kav is taking u for a lovely meal (curry that is),
lots of love tash and ben xx

permalink written by  natasha love on December 9, 2008

shoe and kav where r u now?
hope all is well. missing u.
how was ur birthday shoe?xxxx

permalink written by  mandy smith on December 11, 2008

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